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Columns
It’s Your (Gardening) Thing

I don’t know the names of all of the plants in my garden. There, I said it. I’m not bragging, mind you, nor am I apologizing.



Departments
From the Editor - May/Jun 2014

At the end of February I spent a couple of weeks in a suburb south of San Francisco, doing grandma duty while my daughter ...



Blog
Polly Want a Cracker with That Suet?

When food is scarce, our little feathered friends make a beeline for the feeders. Most of the birds wear drab colors — a ...



Departments
From the Editor - Jan/Feb 2015

Illinois is an agricultural state. We all know that, right? But did you also know that Illinois imports 90 percent of its food



Blog
A Plant for Neatniks

You know who you are. You’re the gardeners who keep your lawn perfectly edged and weed-free, the ones who maintain an ...


questions

I would like to start seeds under lights. When is the best time to start flower seeds? The seed packet always says to sow a number of weeks before the last frost. When is the last frost?

I have a nicely sheltered, rounded 7-foot tall Japanese red maple on the southeast corner of my backyard. Half of the tree has lost its leaves, the formerly red bark is turning gray, and a good-sized square of bark has been stripped off on the side that faces the yard. I sprayed the exposed bark with black pruning spray to close any entry for insects. I have not cut off any of the branches.

Does the winter have any effect on the tree? Should I look for some insect infestation? What should I do now?

Is there an overall rule about when to pinch back my leggy plants?